Archive | February, 2012


29 Feb

Mom is short. Five feet is stretching it. She is also a tiny lady. Before surgery she was doing really well at 107 . This is the reason she received the liver that she as others were apparently ahead of  her on the list but the liver was too small for anyone else.   It was hard to sit in the ICU waiting room and hear about the others who were waiting. One man whose adult son had liver failure from a tylenol overdose, was very upset when he heard that Mom had gotten a transplant before his son. I did explain about the size difference, but I doubt that it made him feel any better. This was a parent with a child in a coma. Nothing I said would have helped. 

Being tiny also has some disadvantages.  She has to take a little jump to get back into her hospital bed.  She manages that fairly well now, but the first  times, everyone was trying to help her! The nurses have apologised because they weren`t able to lower the bed more! But we will take the little disadvantages. Thank God for the small things!


The Entourage

25 Feb

Yesterday Mom managed to walk twice around the unit using the walker, a staff member pushing her IV pole and one holding onto her safety strap, plus me walking beside her. It makes quite the entourage.  You don’t want to meet anyone else walking the opposite way!

The effort Mom has to put in to that short walk and how she pushes herself is inspiring. She is in pain, yet knows that unless she walks around that she will not get better. So off she goes. I have avoided ever working that hard physically. If it hurts I stop! But if Mom can push herself, so can I. Stairs, here I come!

One Foot in Front of the Other

24 Feb

Mom went for a short walk yesterday. I missed it. Do you know the feeling you had when your child took their first step? Did it happen in your presence or with someone else? I was able to see all but one of my children take their first steps. Missing that one was horrible. I feel the same way about missing Mom’s walk yesterday! But we can’t be present for everything. We have to trust those taking care of those we love.

And of course, there is One who is present at all times. “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

This means at all times, good or bad, He is there, rejoicing with all the small steps, and weeping with us at the set-backs.

Now if only He would take a few pictures for us!

Waiting to Leap

23 Feb

The next big step for Mom would be to get out of ICU. And yesterday she was given the green light for that step. However, red tape got in the way. They had a room in the transplant ward for her, but the bed for the room seems to have grown legs and disappeared. So literally, there was no bed for her! By the time we left the hospital last night, the staff was still tracking down a bed. But I am confident that she will be moved by the time Dad goes in this morning.

Dad and I went in together yesterday. I drove on the way home. Dad is getting wore out. I suggested that we take turns going in for a while to give “us all” a break. Dad did agree, but wanted to go in today himself. So I will take a day off and go in tomorrow.

We have been looking for a place to stay in for the month after Mom is discharged but has to come in every day for physio and blood work. When you live outside of the “city”, even though its only a 2  hour drive one way, that would be too hard on Mom to do every day.  Dad spoke with a neighbor and she and her daughter offered the daughter’s apartment for the month. The daughter offered to move in with a friend for the month so we could have the place! What a wonderful thing to do.

A Step Forward and Back

22 Feb

Yesterday was a huge step forward for mom. They removed the respirator! YAY! And she sat up in a chair for a bit. Double Yay!

I wasn’t there. I had to go to my office to take care of a few things in order to go on my leave. Then when I got back home, I started to feel sick. I’m celiac so it could have been something I ate, or it could be a bug. I decided not to go in and see mom just in case. Then I felt guilty. But I was doing the right thing…wasn’t I? Of course, why should I feel guilty because I wasn’t feeling well? But I do anyway, just because I do tend to put others before myself.

So I’m heading in this morning as it must have been the celiac disease and I’m fine now.

I know all about Vicarious Trauma, Compassion Fatigue and the other meriad of names that are given to the burnout felt by the caring professions. That’s the profession I am in. However, knowing and avoiding it are two different things!

Another Step

21 Feb

With a critically ill family member, having a support system in place is so important. I am not talking the health care system, I mean your  own personal supports, like family, friends, church, work and so on.

I am blessed with a wonderful family support system. My husband has taken over everything at home. I also run a concession part-time, and my youngest sons have worked with me. They have taken that over.  My dad has been wonderful, strong and caring. My siblings, though we disagree as most siblings do, have been there.

My full time job has given me leave and my co-workers have been incredible sources of support. I have wonderful friends praying for us.

The only thing lacking has been the church. Our church went through some major changes in the last year. While I am still a member, I don’t attend as regularily as some think I should. I didn’t feel comfortable even phoning anyone to ask for prayer. This really tells me that I need a new church family.

Time to hit the road. I have a full day of trying to pass clients on  to another worker, and then driving back in to be with mom. They are hoping to take her off the respirator today. I will tell of that journey tomorrow!

A journey

21 Feb

Wednesday night at 11:34 my family began a new journey. My mom received the call that there was a liver available and she was to be  at the hospital at 7:00 am the next morning. She called me and woke me up. We were in shock, and I wasn’t sure whether to sing for joy, or cry.

Mom has been battling primary liver cancer for over 4 years. It’s an extremely rare cancer with no discernable cause. She has had 2 surgeries and 6 RFAs (Radio-frequency Abulation). The last one was only a month ago. She was put on the transplant list a couple of years ago after quite the battle with one of the transplant team doctors. We were told that she would be taken off the list if there was a tumor, but put back on after 6 months. This is why we were shocked. The last tumor was only treated a month before!

So…up all night, too excited and nervous to sleep and heading to the hospital by 5:00 am as we are a 2 hour drive away. Mom ended up waiting until 11:30 that night to head into surgery. I stayed in as the rest of my family headed home. Best part of this was watching my mom and dad, married 48 years, holding hands.

Mom came out of surgery at 5:30am Thursday morning. And now the journey for us all begins. Learning to live with a transplant. Learning to live with a second chance. Learning to live.